That India is sparing no effort to be a bully to Pakistan is obvious from its plans to construct reservoir after reservoir in the part of Kashmir occupied by it to dam up and divert waters that under international law belong to Pakistan. A number of projects have been completed or are in the process of execution and a still larger number are on the drawing board. It also bears mentioning that according to the conditions of the IWT, India is required to inform in advance of starting a project on the Indus Waters. In 100% of the cases, this has never happened and Pakistan has had to rely on its own satellite intelligence to find out - once the projects are already halfway done. Islamabad has not been entirely effective at taking up the matter for adjudication at the international level under the Indus Waters Treaty, but also chosen poor advocates of its cause to plead its cases. To our protests or formal démarches, New Delhi only responded by adopting dilatory tactics through offers of talks and meaningless visits to the sites. As a result, hundreds of thousands of acres of Pakistan’s fertile land are under threat of being rendered barren, not to talk of the setback to its plans to bring additional land under cultivation to cater for the growing requirements of its burgeoning population. The pity is that our ruling leadership has only treated this grave threat to the economy as a minor irritant and tried to resolve it through appeasement. Overtures of normalisation of relations and friendship like the grant of most favoured nation status, without considered relations with India and issues involved in it as a whole will prove to be counter-productive in the long run.

Even the Indian Supreme Court has now joined the Indian government to deal a final blow to Pakistan’s hopes that New Delhi would, after all, realise the merits of respecting treaties it has signed in the interest of peace in the subcontinent. The court has ordered the central and state governments to implement an ambitious project of linking 30 rivers, as a flood control measure and to divert waters from surplus areas to the deficient ones. Our water experts, already voicing concern at Indian moves to appropriate Pakistan’s share of water, have sharply reacted to the court decision by terming it water hegemony, part of an all-encompassing strategy to destabilise Pakistan, etc. The linkage of rivers would mean the strangulation of our economy since it would pass total control of the headwaters of our rivers on to India. Simultaneously, it is staging military exercises on Pakistan’s borders to exert pressure.

It is tragic that all this while we have done virtually nothing to increase our water storage capacity. The Kalabagh Dam project, an ideal and ready site, for a large reservoir that would generate nearly 4,000MW of power and store water not only to facilitate large-scale agriculture, but also to reduce the impact of floods has been the victim of parochial sentiments and squabbling. It is time to give up such attitudes and seriously take up this dam as well as other water storages projects.